Who deserves praise and criticism this week in Northern Utah?

Monday , October 09, 2017 - 5:15 AM

STANDARD-EXAMINER EDITORIAL BOARD

The Standard-Examiner Editorial Board hashes out the positions we take on the Opinion page. Here’s what members recommended last week for praise and criticism:

THUMBS UP: to ogden Police officer Brayton Doxstader, stopped during his patrol shift to play basketball for 5 or 10 minutes with some Ogden kids. 

Parents and adult relatives of the kids happened to catch photos and videos of the interaction and were quick to praise Doxstader for the simple outreach gesture. 

Two of Lupe Castillo’s kids and a nephew were playing a game of street ball when the officer pulled up. At first, Castillo thought the kids might be in trouble and in for a negative interaction with a police officer. It was one of those times that it was good to be wrong. 

“I thought it was the coolest thing ever,” Castillo said. “You know, with everything that’s going on these days, everybody thinks the cops are bad. And for him to pull over and spend a few minutes with kids shooting hoops, talking to them and high-fiving them, I thought that was cool”

THUMBS UP: that the ban on acknowledging LGBTQ communities in Utah schools has been lifted

Sure, it took long enough. And it was only done after Equality Utah filed a lawsuit against the state (it’s not a leap to assume the legislature changed the law because they knew they’d lose the suit). But this is a good thing for our young people. 

The ban prohibited teachers or staff from “advocacy of homosexuality” — they couldn’t say it was OK to be gay. When students were bullied or even brutally harmed, faculty couldn’t say the abuse was wrong. In health classes, there was a culture of silence around the issue, effectively making LGBTQ students feel alone and unworthy of acceptance. 

Over 29 percent of LGBTQ children and teens will attempt suicide, according to the Human Rights Campaign. That’s compared to just 6.4 percent of heterosexual, cisgender kids. 

The faster faculty and other students can create a culture of acceptance, the better it will be for everyone. 

THUMBS DOWN: to the UTA Board of Trustees recent vote on part of the compensation package offered to its executives.

The average UTA employee can contribute 3 percent of a salary to a 457(b) retirement savings plan and expect UTA to match it by 2 percent. But for the five people on UTA’s executive team, they’ll get a 7 percent match for the same contribution. 

“This isn’t good leadership,” board member and North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor said. “UTA executives should be putting themselves on the same programs they created for their employees — not creating special carve-outs for themselves.”

He’s right. Especially because changes to these compensation packages are coming only after a 2014 legislative audit, which deemed UTA executive compensation packages bloated with cash bonuses, retirement plans and car allowances.

They had the chance to show the public they’re changing their ways, but they opted instead to show they’ll do the bare minimum when forced to.

THUMBS DOWN: to illegal poaching

A dead doe was found at a Layton golf course in early September and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources determined it was shot with an arrow outside bow hunting season, within Layton’s city limits (where no hunting is allowed) and with an arrow that is illegal to shoot a deer with because it leads to a slow, painful death for the animal. 

It’s a sick thing to do on a lot of levels. It’s dangerous to the community and caused needless suffering. 

There are lots of arguments about why hunting is a good thing — herd control, food, a respect for our food sources, etc. Most hunters agree with not allowing the activity in residential areas and shooting to kill an animal quickly and humanely. This person gives a bad name to all of that. 

Anyone with information about the illegal killing has been asked to contact wildlife officials at 1-800-662-3337 or email them at turninapoacher@utah.gov.

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